Should Finals be Held Before Winter Break?

Finals are coming up 
for PYLUSD, but other schools have already taken them.

Clipart Library

Finals are coming up for PYLUSD, but other schools have already taken them.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

It is common knowledge to many students across the district that the time in which their finals take place differs from the school districts near PYLUSD. For example, schools in Orange Unified School District and Fullerton Joint Union High School District take their final exams the week before winter break while students who attend high schools in PYLUSD take their final exams three weeks after winter break is over, leaving many students wondering if students in other school districts have an advantage when it comes to their final exams.


Even as a freshman, Piper Guyton (9) believes that having finals before break would be better because “students can take their exams knowing that they can get a break after weeks of preparation.” Students in PYLUSD do have a dance that they can attend right after finals week, but after many days of preparation and exam taking, students are more likely to prefer two weeks of rest over an evening to celebrate.


Students attending high schools outside of PYLUSD support that having finals before winter break has more advantages. A freshman at Troy High School, Emily Kim (9) says that having finals before break was better because “you don’t need to worry about studying over break.” She also noticed how students “may push off studying to break if they have it after break and they might end up not studying.” Overall she believes that she “would prefer if finals week were before winter break so [she] can be pushed to study ahead of time and also enjoy [her] winter break.”


An article in the Chicago Tribune brings up a fair argument as to why finals should be held after winter break. They claim that winter break is an excellent opportunity for students to study because of the large amounts of free time they are supposed to get. However, from a student’s perspective, it is clear that most students value their time over the winter holdings to spend with friends and family if they are not already occupied with traveling or catching up on their sleep schedule.


Even if PYLUSD were to consider moving finals week to the week before winter break, it is seems to be unlikely that this would occur because of how late the school year starts in comparison to other districts. Other districts end their school years earlier but they also start the year sooner, allowing them to end their first semester the week before winter break. This gives them another advantage because students in AP courses also have longer to prepare for AP exams.


Overall, from talking to students from different high schools in and out of PYLUSD, the vast majority agrees that taking finals before winter break would have more advantages compared to taking them after the holidays. Even though it would be difficult to change, students could potentially score higher on finals is they were before break because they would not forget concepts on the exams over winter break and they would be able to get a long well-deserved break after a week of finals.